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Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 02:09 PM ( 8 views )  - Posted by Heidi
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Families, schools mourn girls killed in ATV crash

By Yolanda Jones (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The families, friends and schools of two 11-year-old girls killed over the weekend
in an ATV accident struggled to deal with their deaths Monday.
Emily Bates and Lauren Dilworth were killed shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday when the
four-wheeler they were riding in flipped as it went off the pavement in the Southern
Trails subdivision off Miss. 305 in the Lewisburg community near Olive Branch.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud noise and seeing the overturned 2005 Yamaha Rhino
and calling for help, police said.
Lauren, a sixth-grade student at Lewisburg Middle School, was pronounced dead on the
scene. Emily, a sixth-grader at Southaven Middle, was taken to Baptist Memorial
Hospital-DeSoto, where she died in the emergency room.
At both girls' schools Monday, counselors met with students and moments of silence
were held.
"She was very well-liked by her peers and loved by her teachers," said Lauren's
principal, James Brady, at Lewisburg Middle/High School. "She was a strong
Levi Williams, Emily's principal at Southaven Middle, said, "She was an exceptional
soccer player, playing on two Southaven recreational leagues, and a member of the
Southaven Middle School band, where she played the trumpet."
He said her favorite subject was math.
Susanne Koenig, a friend of Emily Bates' family, said Emily, one of six children,
was "tough as nails" and "crazy about soccer."
"She had been playing since she was 5, and we just knew that she was going to go to
college on a soccer scholarship because that's how good she was," Koenig said.
She said Emily and Lauren recently became friends after the two families, both from
Alabama, were introduced.
The Dilworth family had moved to the area from the Tuscaloosa area four months ago.
The day of the accident, the girls were preparing to go to a Halloween corn maze. As
they waited at the Dilworth home, they decided to go around the block in the ATV.
DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders said the Yamaha Rhino four-wheeler was not like
basic ATVs.
"This one had a top, room for two passengers, a steering wheel and was much heavier
than the basic ATV," he said. "There were seatbelts in it, but apparently the girls
did not have them on."
DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco said no other vehicles were involved in the
accident, and the girls were the only ones on the ATV.
He said there were no witnesses, but authorities believe the vehicle flipped as it
hit the curb. There's no law requiring ATV riders to be a certain age, but Rasco
said the girls weren't supposed to be on the roadway.
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a safety agency that monitors
ATV safety, reported there were 80 ATV-related deaths in Mississippi for children
under 16 from 1982-2002.
A total of 237 ATV deaths were reported from 1982-2006 in the state. This is the
first ATV-related death in DeSoto County this year.
"This has been really hard for the families," Koenig said. "Emily's classmates at
Southaven signed yards and yards of red paper and sent it to her family to let them
know how much Emily meant to all of them. She will be truly missed."
A memorial service for Emily Bates will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Baptist
Church, 7200 Swinnea Road in Southaven.
Services for Lauren Dilworth will be at 1 p.m. today at Corinthian Funeral Home
Chapel, 506 Kilpatrick St. in Corinth.
In lieu of flowers, the families requested all memorials be sent to St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

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